Protecting our Pollinators; the Importance of Bee-ing Kind

Protecting our Pollinators; the Importance of Bee-ing Kind

Honey bee covered with yellow pollen collecting nectar from a Dandelion flower.

Bees are an essential part of the ecosystem of our planet. For plants and crops to reproduce, they require pollination, a job beautifully carried out by bees. This is important for the production of the food we eat directly, and for food livestock consume, as well as helping to feed other animals in the food chain.

Sadly, bees are under threat.

They are disappearing on a global scale at an alarming rate, due to pesticides, habitat loss, climate change, parasites, and disease. Whilst having bees nesting in or around your property may not be a welcome prospect for most UK homeowners, bees are not considered pests, therefore ethical pest controllers will not use bee treatments unless there is a serious threat to human life.

Identification

There are over 200 species of bee living in the UK, the majority of which are solitary bee species. Solitary bees are not aggressive or territorial. If they do sting (which is rare), the sting is not painful or harmful. Their numbers decline over the summer, and it is best to leave their nests alone.

Whilst the fuzzy bumblebee is easy to identify, many people can confuse other bee types, such as the honeybee, with wasps, largely due to their similar shape and colour palate.

Here at Avon Pest Control, we have listed the main differences between the honeybee and wasp to aid identification:

  • Size: the wasp is marginally larger than the honeybee. Workers measure around 1.2-1.8 cm, whist honeybee workers are around 1.2-1.4 cm
  • Colour: honeybees are amber and brown/black, whilst wasps sport their distinctive bright yellow and black colouring. The yellow is so vivid they are often referred to as “yellowjackets”.
  • Coat: honeybees are furry, with short hair, whilst wasps have very little, or no hair
  • Temperament: honeybees are gentle natured. They only sting if they are startled or provoked.  They are capable of a single sting, which subsequently kills them. Wasps are aggressive and will repeatedly sting, often without provocation
  • Swarms: honeybees swarm in spring and summer, whilst wasps do not swarm.
  • Food: honeybees enjoy nectar from flowers and are not interested in your picnic, whilst wasps eat other insects, overripe fruit, discarded human food and sugary drinks. Wasps are the UK’s number one picnic pest and BBQ botherer!
  • Habitat: both honeybees and wasps seek out spaces to nest, such as in hollow trees, wall cavities and roofs/lofts.
  • Nests: honeybees reside in large colonies inside nests called beehives. The beehive’s internal structure is comprised of hexagonal cells made of beeswax, which we know as honeycomb. Wasps do not have wax-producing glands, and instead build their nests from redigested wood pulp which looks like paper in appearance.

Close up view of working bees in a beehive.

If you have identified wasp activity in or around your home, Avon Pest Control recommend contacting a professional pest control agency, as wasps can be very aggressive.  If you believe you have identified a bee’s nest, no treatment is required.

If you are weary of wasps, or unsure of what type of insect has taken up residence in or around your home, why not call Avon Pest Control today on 01926 632 929 or 01789 293 463 to speak to a member of our team.